Dec 15 2011

A lesson in botany

Friend: “Flowers are basically a place where insects go to masturbate.”

Typical Thursday night.


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  1. 1

    I beg to differ. If anyone’s getting masturbated in a pollination interaction, it’s the flower.


  2. 2

    That’s it, I am never buying flowers again. All that nasty sex stuff. I’m gonna stick with teaching nice simple, not perverted physics.

  3. 3
    Retired Prodigy Bill

    Wasn’t there a bit in a Dawkins work where he was talking about people saying insects couldn’t get turned on by flower displays, an argument he then destroyed by talking about humans getting turned on by pigment on wood pulp?

  4. 4

    I knew one blogger who, when the trees in her neighborhood went all out with the pollen, wrote “The trees are having sex in our noses again.”

  5. 5
    Jafafa Hots

    Please don’t post this friend’s explanation of honey. :(

  6. 6
    Jafafa Hots

    “The trees are having sex in our noses again.”

    On the northeast side of Lake Merritt in Oakland are (or were in 1997 anyway) a bunch of trees along the path that during a certain time of year absolutely reek of semen.

    Burns your sinuses and nostrils. Totally feels like the trees are having sex in your nose.

  7. 7
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    “The trees are having sex in our noses again.”

    A snootfull of sperm.

  8. 8

    This reminds me of a very early Saturday Night Live skit with the Not Ready for Prime Time Players. They were all dressed like bees and the scene was in a summer camp cabin complete with steel bunk beds.

    The lights are turned off and then we hear “squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak.” The lights come back on and one of the bees says, “Allan’s buzzing awww-awwwwfffff! Allan’s buzzing awww-awwwwfffff!”

    Allan replies, “I was not!”

    Another says, “Oh yeah, well then why do you have honey all over yourself?”

    Later they are told by their camp counselor, “It’s okay to play with your stingers.”

  9. 9
    Lou Jost

    There are many orchids (Lepanthes, Telipogon, Ophrys, others) that imitate the rear ends of female bugs (sometimes in great detail), and the males sometimes really do have fake sex with them. In Lepanthes, the males actually ejaculate. So masturbation is quite literally correct for these.

  10. 10

    No, most insects don;t masturbate in flowers. No they are to eat the pollen and nectar, which is more like giving head and going down on a flower than anything else. Expect for some cool orchids, previously mentioned.

    Fear and Loathing in Damascus

  11. 11
    The Phytophactor

    So many misconceptions, so little time, so very very little knowledge of botany. And you actually have to know something to be clever or funny about it. In only one type of pollination is anything close to masturbation involved; pseudocopulation where flowers mimic female insects to attract males. Science is such a wet blanket.

  12. 12

    I thought the perverted sex stuff was the selling point of biology.

  13. 13
    Svlad Cjelli

    …Yes, a few specific kinds of flowers. That brush is a bit too wide for comfort.

  14. 14
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Don’t you think it shows the benevolence and wisdom of the creator that flowers just happen to produce aids for the self-pleasuring of insects? ;P

  15. 15

    From my limited understanding, flowers are the plant equivalent of the creepy loner putting peanut butter on their genitals to get their pet to lick it off. Trees are like bukake getting it everywhere. To be fair, how do you think you would handle having your feet glued to one spot for your whole life?

  16. 16

    jeremyyoder is quite right. Insects are semi-consenting partners in one of the weirdest three-ways in nature.

  17. 17

    We should probably stop going on about insect and tree sex before Perry, Bachman, and Santorum start demanding that insects and trees not be allowed to get married or join the military.

  18. 18

    This is exactly what was being referenced.

  19. 19

  20. 20

    It made me think of this comic (warning, kind of NSFW):


    oglaf.com is the funniest, naughtiest webcomic of all. Highly recommended, if you like fantasy, sci-fi, and porn all mixed together.

  21. 21

    All I know is I’m glad plants can’t do to our sex organs what we do to theirs! Just thinking about what would pass as the centerpiece of a plant table-setting gives me the creeps.

  22. 22
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Just relax and work up to it :P

  23. 23
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Wow. Gore Vidal gone wild.

  24. 24
    Lou Jost


  25. 25

    by ‘perverted physics’, I assume you mean chemistry

  26. 26
    Arctic Ape

    This thread is very effective in luring obsessive pedants like me:)

    I just got seriously into wondering if you can differentiate between partnered sex and masturbation in an orchid bee, which supposedly has quite simple sexual psychology. Then again, objectively it is masturbation, even if the insect doesn’t recognise the difference between the flower and a female bee.

    Bleh, whatever.

  27. 27
    Svlad Cjelli

    Σ(゜д゜;) Apparently that brush is perfect for Comfort!

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